The Government should be prepared to vote against new EU measures it believes are not in the national interest, even as it negotiates Britain withdrawal from the bloc, MPs have said. The Commons European Scrutiny Committee said, while it did not want the UK to be seen in Brussels a “wrecker”, EU legislative changes could make a “significant difference” to the context of the Brexit negotiation.
It said it would be “imprudent” to assume measures currently under consideration would have no impact on the UK after 2019 and ministers should be ready to vote against those they considered to be misguided, rather than allow them to proceed by consensus.
“In negotiating exit, the UK Government needs to be alert to the negotiations on current business; it cannot start from the assumption that EU policy and legal frameworks are fixed,” it said.
“Rather than driving away from a fixed petrol pump, Brexit is analogous to disengaging from mid-air refuelling. Both parties are moving; the challenge is to separate them without either losing momentum.
“We note that the UK on its own will not constitute a blocking minority. We consider that it may now be appropriate for the Government to be firm in its attitude to proposals it considers misguided, and to be readier to vote against such proposals if it does not manage to negotiate satisfactory changes.”